Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asia stocks lower after Wall St record ahead of Fed meeting

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets are lower after Wall Street hit a new record as investors look ahead to this week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting for reassurance interest rates will be kept ultra-low.

Shanghai and Tokyo declined today while Hong Kong advanced.

On Monday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.2% as gains for tech, banking and consumer stocks outweighed losses for health care.

South Korea reported economic output recovered to above pre-pandemic levels after growth in the three months ending in March accelerated to 1.6% over the previous quarter.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-INDIA

SOS messages, panic as virus breaks India’s health system

NEW DELHI (AP) — India has set another record for daily coronavirus infections for a fifth day in a row, at more than 350,000.

On Monday, the country reported more than 2,800 deaths, with roughly 117 Indians succumbing to the disease every hour — and experts say even those figures are likely an undercount. The new infections brought India’s total to more than 17.3 million, behind only the United States.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NATION’S CAPITAL

Washington, DC, to loosen virus restrictions this weekend

WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials in the nation’s capital are relaxing a number of COVID-19 restrictions after more than a year of virus lockdown. Washington, D.C.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that starting on Saturday, gyms and fitness centers can operate at 50% capacity, and live music will be permitted in gardens and outdoor spaces. Restaurants will be permitted to seat 10 people per table outdoors, up from the previous limit of six per table, but the 25% capacity limit for indoor dining will remain unchanged for now.

The changes represent a step toward normality for District of Columbia residents and hope for the city’s vital tourism and convention industry.

CALIFORNIA-DDT-DUMPING

Scientists: Up to 25,000 barrels at DDT dump site in Pacific

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Marine scientists say they have found what they believe to be as many as 25,000 barrels that possibly contain DDT dumped off the Southern California coast near Catalina Island.

The sightings were made by researchers at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography who mapped more than 36,000 acres of seafloor between Santa Catalina Island and the Los Angeles coast in a region previously found to contain high levels of the toxic chemical in sediments and in the ecosystem.

Scientists conducted the survey following a Los Angeles Times report last year that a University of California Santa Barbara professor had found evidence that barrels of DDT were dumped into the ocean.

MEXICO-CHIP SHORTAGE

VW Mexico sets production suspensions over chip shortages

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Volkswagen de Mexico will suspend production of Jetta models in Mexico for two weeks next month and will pause assembly of Tiguan SUVs for 11 days due to a global semiconductor shortage.

Jetta production will halt May 3-19 and Tiguan work will stop May 6-16. VW said in a statement Monday that “we assume the chip supply will continue to be complex in the coming months.”

The shortage has forced Ford to build F-150 pickup trucks without onboard computers, with plans to install them later. Honda and Toyota announced production cuts at some North American factories. General Motors also has been forced to build pickups without some computers and install them later.

JAPAN-TOYOTA-LYFT

Toyota acquires Lyft’s self-driving unit for $500 million

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. has acquired the self-driving division of American ride-hailing company Lyft for $500 million, in a move that underlines the Japanese automaker’s ambitions in that technology.

The acquisition was carried out by Woven Planet Holdings, a Toyota subsidiary that began business in January and focuses on innovations and investment in projects such as “smart cities,” robotics and automated driving.

Toyota says the Woven Planet project will bring together an international team of engineers and researchers in mobility services, as well as bring together the software and sensor assets and automated driving systems.

POLICE-CYBER EXTORTION

DC police department hit by apparent extortion attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington, D.C., police department says its computer network has been breached.

The department says a Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate claims to have stolen sensitive data, including on informants, and is threatening to share it with local criminal gangs if the department does not pay an unspecified ransom. The cybercriminals posted screenshots on their website supporting their claim to have stolen more than 250 gigabytes of data.

The District’s Metropolitan Police Department says it has asked the FBI to investigate the “unauthorized access.” There is no indication that any police operations were affected.

YELLOWSTONE CLUB-WAGES LAWSUIT

Settlement reached in suit against ultra-rich Montana club

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Jamaican citizens recruited to work at a Montana ski resort for the ultra-rich have reached a $1 million settlement over allegations they were discriminated against and paid less than other employees to do the same work.

About 90 workers will receive checks ranging from less than $1,000 to more than $14,000 under the settlement with the Yellowstone Club and Georgia-based staffing firm Hospitality Staffing Solutions.

The workers alleged they did not receive tips or service charges included on restaurant and bar bills. Neither the club nor the staffing agency admitted any liability under the settlement. Members of the club include Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

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